Eric Chavez popped onto the field today during batting practice at Safeco Field and chatted w/reporters for a few minutes. He looked good and was in good spirits. His wife, Alex, gave birth to their third child — a boy, Cruz — three weeks ago. So no wonder he’s in a good mood. He’s about two months removed from microdiscectomy surgery on his back, and he began rehab about three weeks ago. Among the highlights from his media chat:
–Chavez has every intention of trying to return to third base, but acknowledged that if it turns out he can only DH, maybe that could extend his career a couple of years. Asked about the possibility of playing first base: “Either way (playing third or first), I’d still be bending over fielding ground balls.”
–He joked that he felt old knowing recently acquired third baseman Brett Wallace considers Chavez his favorite player. He also was very pleased to know Wallace has been hitting well, and said he would offer any defensive tips he could to Wallace.
–Chavez said recovery from this microdiscectomy procedure, his second, was more painful the first few weeks out of surgery than the first one. After his first back surgery — in October 2007 — Chavez said he came into the next season w/too many expectations. This time around, “I’ll try to take advantage of the eight-month recovery” period, which would take him right up to spring training.
–His surgically repaired right shoulder still aches every now and then, and he continues doing rehab for that. But the back is still his main physical concern.
–Asked for his thoughts on how the A’s are playing, Chavez said: “It’s fun to watch. … At least now we’re stealing bases and trying to make things happen.”
There’ll be more to read on Chavez in tomorrow’s notebook …
As for other A’s news:
–Bob Geren said Dallas Braden saw a neurologist, and it was found that a nerve in his left foot is “traumatized.” Rest is the only remedy for it, and there’s no timetable for him to get on a mound. It seems even more likely to me now that Braden may have pitched his last game of 2009, although Geren hopes to get him back, even if it’s only for an appearance or two. He didn’t rule out Braden pitching in relief, if that’s what it took to get him some work. That seems odd to me. I’d think that if it got to that late in the season before Braden was ready, it’d make sense to just shut him down for the winter and make sure he’s fully healed for next season.
–Geren said that, no matter what, he plans to incorporate a six-man rotation after rosters expand. Edgar Gonzalez is a possibility to join the rotation as the sixth guy, but that would probably only happen after some relievers are called up to fortify the bullpen.